Top Stories

July 08, 2014



Exercise in Singapore will study measures needed to help public infrastructure adapt to climate change

An exercise gathering details on getting the Singapore’s roads, drains, airport and other infrastructure ready for climate change will be firmed up from 2016, as government agencies examine how public infrastructure must adapt to higher temperatures, more intense rainfall, rise in sea levels and stronger winds. A resilient framework will put climate change risks and adaptation under sharper focus than before and take into account findings such as those of Singapore’s second National Climate Change Study. The work will be undertaken by The Ministry of the Environment and Water Resources, following the Singaporean President’s address at the reopening of the 12th Parliament. Dr Vivian Balakrishnan, the minister for the environment and water resources, said, “The South-east Asian region is highly vulnerable and there is an urgent need to update our understanding of the climate system and its impact on future livelihoods and security”. (Channel News Asia)

IBM signs up to help fight China’s war on smog

After a series of pollution scares and scandals, China’s central government has promised to reverse some of the damage done to the nation’s sky, rivers and soil by more than three decades of growth. But China has first had to improve data collection, monitoring and forecasting capabilities before it can work on cutting smog and pollution. To help in this process, the city of Beijing has signed an agreement with IBM to use advanced weather forecasting and cloud computing technologies to help tackle the Chinese capital’s persistent smog. Under the agreement with IBM, Beijing’s city government will be one of the partners in the company’s China-focused 10-year “Green Horizon” initiative, which aims to draw on IBM’s forecasting expertise and the collection of real-time emissions data to predict smog build-ups. IBM hopes to use the comprehensive data to lead more effective action and generate new commercial opportunities in pollution control and renewable energy in China. (Eco-Business)

Supply Chain

Tool helps companies choose safer plastics

The Plastics Scorecard v.1.0, produced by the Business-NGO Working Group, a collaboration of companies and NGOs, offers what it says is the first comprehensive method for assessing and reducing chemicals of high concern in plastics. The tool helps companies choose safer plastics. It has already helped Dignity Health care system switch plastic in its IV bags and keep 700,000 pounds of high-concern chemicals out of the environment. The Plastics Scorecard offers a 5-step programme for companies seeking to reduce their chemical footprint. The total natural cost of plastic in the consumer goods industry is more than $75billion per year, according to research released last month by the Plastic Disclosure Project, the UN Environment Programme and natural capital analysts Trucost. The report says companies could become more sustainable by improving the way they measure, manage and report the amount of plastic they use in their business operations and supply chains. (Environmental Leader)


Half of America’s Largest Companies Don’t Report on Climate Risk

A study by Ceres, a non-profit advocacy group that focuses on corporate sustainability, shows that approximately half of the US’s 3000 largest publicly traded companies do not report on the financial risks of climate change to the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC). The findings come despite SEC guidance form four years ago to companies to disclose against their material climate change risks related to domestic and international regulatory risks; the indirect effects of regulation or business trends; and physical risk. Ceres has criticised the SEC for insufficiently enforcing these requirements, as evidence in the new findings, with the majority of financial reporting on climate change risk being deemed inadequate and superficial. (Triple Pundit)


Unilever Competition to Fund Innovative Ideas from Young Social Entrepreneurs

Multinational consumer goods company Unilever is asking young leaders to prove what they’re doing to help build a sustainable future. Through its Sustainable Living Entrepreneurs Awards— in partnership with Ashoka and the University of Cambridge Programme for Sustainability Leadership — is inviting young people to come up with practical and innovative solutions to some of the world’s biggest sustainability challenges. A four-week online development program, two-day accelerator workshop and a pitch to a panel of leading business and sustainability entrepreneurs could lead them to more than €200,000 (US$272,000) in financial support, in addition to mentoring, to help scale their services or applications. The competition seeks to provide resources and recognition to solutions based on categories including water, sanitation and hygiene, greenhouse gases, sustainable agriculture and opportunities for women. (Triple Pundit)




Image source: The “Fog” or “Smog” of Beijing by Bell and Jeff/ CC BY 2.0